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The Bahamas Is Requiring All Visiting Cruise Passengers Be Vaccinated
Starting September 3, all passengers 12 and older onboard cruise ships heading to the Bahamas will be required to show proof of vaccination before docking at a port.
This is according to an emergency order posted on the Bahamas Customs & Excise Department website. The order states that the captain or master of the ship must present a manifest to the port medical officer which discloses the vaccination status of all aboard the cruise ship prior to arrival.
The order is in effect until at least November 1, 2021.
The news has pushed cruise lines to rethink their initial policies. Royal Caribbean is requiring all guests who are 12 years of age and older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. According to a company press release, this includes cruises departing from Florida and visiting The Bahamas on and after Sept. 3.
The cruise line says that all crew members on the ship are vaccinated. This comes after six passengers tested positive for COVID-19 aboard Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas. According to PEOPLE, four of the passengers, who are not members of the same group, had been vaccinated while the remaining two were unvaccinated minors from the same party.
The cruise departed from Nassau, Bahamas on July 24. That voyage required all travelers age 16 and older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to presenting a negative test prior to boarding. Children under 16 also had to show negative tests.
Similarly, MSC Cruises announced that they will now be requiring all guests 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated on all sailings beginning September 3, 2021 through and including sailings of October 31, 2021, departing from Port Miami and Port Canaveral.
A federal judge recently ruled that Norwegian Cruise Lines could require proof of vaccination from passengers before boarding a cruise in Florida, a decision that runs counter to Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mandate to ban vaccine passports.